Would it be possible to design a video game like a deck of playing cards? A virtual world with characters, objects and artificial life but without an implied goal or ruleset. Perhaps, like many decks of cards, accompanied by a manual that proposes several different games that can be played within this environment. Somewhat similar to the way in which games like Quake and Halo allow for multiple types of multiplayer games with different objectives but set in the same environment and using the same characters and game objects. But without the application having to switch modes explicitly. Just like the pictures on the cards don’t change. The game to play would be entirely up to the player(s). Depending on how they act, the game would be different.
In a traditional computer game framework, one could think of a virtual world in which the player decides to play either an adventure game, an action game or a strategy game, depending on what they do in the world, perhaps on which studies their avatar takes and jobs they choose, for instance.
It would be even more interesting if the game itself would also have input so that somebody who sets out to be a soldier in the game ends up becoming a diplomat because the death of his wife made him allergic to aggression. The player of such a game would be required to actively suspend disbelief and really play his role in all earnesty, without trying to manipulate the game into becoming something pre-defined and expected. “Playing Cards Next Gen”: where the cards themselves can change the nature of the game.